David Land, Commercial Director.

A warm welcome to David Land, Commercial Director.


David Land, Commercial Director.

David Land, Commercial Director for Improvement Architecture.

Improvement Architecture are pleased to announce the next stage of the companies development, we are delighted to welcome David Land to the team as Commercial Director.

The business was established just over 5 years ago by the founder and MD, Graham Sleep, initially set up to support the development, delivery and growth in Scotland through the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service. Graham and the team have achieved some very notable successes, ranging from scale-ups to large international clients

Working in the North East in collaboration with BE Group have recently achieved further success through the delivery of the NELEP Manufacturing Growth Programme where 37 companies went through a business diagnostic, resulting in all companies now having clear objectives and plans, with a further 150 new jobs being created.

IA continues to look at new and creative ways to help a wide range of businesses by bringing their diagnostic tools and brain model to help companies find their purpose and direction, enabling route causes to be identified and problems resolved.   This growth has resulted in them adding technology-based platforms, new growth models, strategic leadership and Transformational Strategy boot-camps, to their existing portfolio. IA have also supported national charities through their 20:20:20 Vision Programme, which continues to run for another four years.

To further support their growth Improvement Architecture are delighted to announce David Land will be joining the business as Commercial Director helping to further develop the client base and investments. David comes with a wealth of experience gained through his years within the automotive sector.  Beginning his career with Cummins Engines at Darlington, David built up his manufacturing knowledge before moving on to Tallent Engineering (Now Gestamp Tallent) where he became Business Development Director, Plant Director for the Aycliffe site and finally the UK Industrial/ Engineering Director. David now spends his time supporting growth in the region through his various roles as NELEP board member, setting up and Chairing County Durham Engineering Manufacturing Network, advisory board member for Business Durham, a governor at the University of Sunderland and a founder sponsor and now Deputy Chair at the regions first UTC.

Graham stated; “It is a privilege to welcome David to IA, he brings not only the industrial experience but also renewed drive and energy to get things done, we are fortunate to have his high level of senior experience and credibility within our team. Along with our new products and services, we can drive not just our business growth, but that of our clients.  When I set the business up I wanted to ensure that we were “delivering purposeful, measurable, behavioural transformation in people and organisations in order to achieve their strategic ambitions” – this appointment takes us a step closer to achieving this.

34% Reduction in Manufacturing Costs– Mainetti Ltd. 

The Company 


The Mainetti Group is the largest manufacturer and supplier of hangers in the world. Mainetti was established in 1961 in Italy and now operates in over 40 different countries, employing over 4,000 people worldwide. 

Mainetti lists a number of blue-chip high-street customers, however, has been seen to have slowed down due to the economic recession by approx 20%.  Even with this, the local management team are committed to continuing a restructuring operation to enable Mainetti in the UK to continue to compete in a global market.  

To complement these growth plans, the company has a strong vision for lean manufacturing to become a way of life, even given the traditional culture on which it is based. The company has shown great commitment to continuous improvement, lean and culture change no matter how challenging.   


The Challenge 

 The challenge of conducting business in the middle of economic recession highlighted the need to change the business.  It was soon apparent that the organisation needed to focus on key business wins, rather than a traditional lean implementation programme. The culture of the organisation and previous attempts at lean implementation had left some degree of resistance and a general nervousness of what this programme would mean to the organisation.  This uncertainty was shared at all levels throughout Manetti. 

The decision was therefore taken to look for external support in order to look at reducing internal costs in terms of materials, Labour & space utilisation, that’s where Improvement Architecture Ltd came into assist.   


What We Did  


  • Structured an ongoing programme through completing an “X” chart of potential projects.


  • Focused the initial learning at the operatives themselves around the tools and skills required for the specific lean implementation project required, whilst still enabling staff to gain an overall appreciation for the overall philosophies and additional tools available. 


  • Used a variety of real-life issues that arose to solidify the grounding for lean, and support for the overall culture of lean. 


  • Covered broader issues around facilitation and change management which arose during the discussions. 



Improvement Architecture Ltd 

  • A strong partnership was developed between  Improvement Architecture Ltd and Mainetti management which has helped to improve the business through continuous improvement and culture change. 
  •  Improvement Architecture Ltd offered the skills and experience in lean tools/techniques needed to help progress Mainetti down the Lean Journey. 
  •  Improvement Architecture Ltd has provided external structure and project management support to control improvements being made whilst not becoming a barrier for management internally. 


Lessons learned 


Although the lean training has successfully gained improvements in the short-term, it is critical that further standardisation of people, systems and processes is required to ensure ongoing sustainability. 


There is a skills gap at Team Leader level which can act as a barrier between operatives and management.  Further development of this area is required in order that Kaizen programmes may be created successfully. 


The proactiveness shown within the shop-floor areas needs to be further developed with programmes including Engineers and more technical staff across the organisation.  These will be critical to long-term continuous improvement culture and reduction in quality issues. 




What was the impact for the Company? 


In addition to the benefits from the 3 key projects identified below the training has encouraged and enabled the participants to review and use the data already collected in the factory with more confidence.  


High Raw material prices.  An 84% reduction in material cost has been achieved through the use of regrind material, rather than 100% virgin material. 


High Labour Cost.  A 29% reduction in labour cost was achieved through the reduction of operatives from 6 per shift to 4 per shift.  A total reduction of 6 operators per day. 


Overall Machine Cost.  It was determined that an opportunity existed to reduce the overall cost of manufacture by using the 4-cavity tool rather than the 12-cavity where possible.  This resulted in £1.057 saving per 100 parts (or 34% reduction in manufacturing cost).  Further to this, a machine which was used within the original area “just in case” was sold for a saving of £21,000 per year for the rental period, and generated a one-off £40k for bottom-line. 


Further improvement projects are being identified on an ongoing basis due to the change within the cell culture giving increased sustainability to this area. 


There are also further programmes being ongoing for additional cell improvements to link to an overall culture change within the business. 




After having struggled previously with the implementation of lean, SMAS through their deliverer Improvement Architecture Ltd was extremely successful in delivering our needs and structuring the programme to fit our culture.  This project has given significant business benefit.  Good job everyone.” 


Keith Charlton 

MD – Mainetti (North Europe)   


Nicky Gordon, Continuous Improvement Black Belt

Lean Strategy -Gates Power Transmissions Case Study

My name is Nicky Gordon and I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with eight years of business improvement experience across the manufacturing and financial sectors.  I am currently employed as the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Gates Power Transmissions at our facility in south-west Scotland. 

Albeit Gates Dumfries have lived and breathed continuous improvement for over a decade, the sustainability of a number of the key tools and techniques have faded due to a skills shortage, with trained staff gaining promotion from the Gemba or departing the business.

Secondly, the majority of the available quick wins and low hanging fruit had been exhausted therefore we required personnel trained to be able to deep dive, identifying further improvement opportunities and completing them correctly.

Finally, I decided sigma would be a good capability to install on site as we’d be required to focus on variation reduction for future proofing.

My key request was that the training be delivered on site and at a pace set by myself to tie in with site demands.  By taken this course of action it allowed the candidates to be in familiar surroundings where they could visit the impacted area during sessions should the need arise.

Secondly, I didn’t want the training completed in one block as I felt the knowledge would be lost.  By requesting that the green belt programme be delivered in one day sessions on a bi-weekly basis, meant the candidates could put into practice what they learnt in a step by step approach.

From a provider perspective, I required the company to be aligned to ISO training standards, instructors to have experience within the manufacturing sector and the training material to be developed in line with Gates standards.

IA offered training material developed to match my requirements, even to the extent of using company templates.  On top of the basic material were numerous tool guides, linkages to e-papers and practical’s.  Away from the sessions, the IA instructor was always available for support with prompt replies.

The 4 projects aligned to certification have delivered in excess of $100,000 with secondary phases identified to double the benefit.  The candidates who are now green belt certified are putting their knowledge into practice and are aligned to projects in 2017 scoped at delivering approximately $250,000.  We also have them training others in soft skills like project management and 5s.

From commencement to completion IA ensured all our requirements were adhered to offering a high level of professionalism and support along the way.  The level of experience shone through during the training sessions and the fact they offer certification via a well-established body made the decision to partner with them easy.

With the site potentially looking at a yellow belt programme and leadership training in the close future, I will be again looking to link in with IA to deliver a successful and sustainable solution.

Nicky Gordon, Continous Improvement Coordinator, Gates Power Transmissions


Graham Sleep

Entrepreneurs….  The Grey and Balding meet the Young, Energetic and Driven…

Grow your business

Bright Ideas Trust Event

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Bright ideas Club in London this week.  This charitable venture was set up by Tim Campbell MBE (the original winner of the BBCs The Apprentice).  Upon meeting him I realised that this was a very energetic motivated individual who maintains his London roots, and you can tell would become trusted totally by those he reaches.

The energy he created in the room when first opening the event and then interviewing Derin Cag, the CEO of Richtopia (a publication platform with over 1M followers) really epitomised the “new technological world we live in” – blockchain, growth hacking, artificial intelligence, a land of challenge for the “grey and balding” but exciting for this particular one – the opportunities are endless with these technologies.  I could have gone home then as they were a very hard act to follow, but after all these years I can’t let the Energetic and Driven drive me away.   Up I got and went completely away from any plans I had, getting carried away with the amount of information that was getting passed over to everyone – I absolutely loved it presenting more of a boot camp approach and not sure how many questions I posed everyone… “remember a consultant is defined by the questions they ask not the answers they give”.  It certainly was well beyond the 7 included in the title.

This was followed by a panel with a continuous stream of questions from thirsty young entrepreneurs and further members of the “Grey and Balding” mentors for the organisation.  Nobody trying to catch anyone out, no egos, no fear… all of the success criteria for entrepreneurs.  The two hours passed so quickly everyone stayed to ask more questions and continue their quest for knowledge as well as a little wine and food.  Just a shame there was a train to catch for this “grey and balding”.

If this is the outcome of a Bright Ideas Trust event, then we definitely need more of this in the North-East of England.  We look forward to welcoming you to our part of the world.  I look forward to the “return leg” Tim…  Thank you to Catherine and all the team for making me welcome.

All the best.

Grey and Balding 1.